catherine councell

an actor | teaching artist | voice over creative based in Chicago, IL

curiosity, experimentation, and authenticity

Hi! I’m Catherine (she/her, they).

I like drinking coffee, reading books from the CHI Public Library, and spending time with Zach, my partner. I also enjoy practicing Hatha yoga, swimming in large bodies of water, and learning the Ukulele.

As a creative in Theatre Arts/Acting I am passionate about consent-based practices centering on the sovereignty and agency of an individual. I have participated in workshops with Intimacy Directors International and Theatrical Intimacy Educators on best practices in rehearsal/performance, and when working with minors.

I hold my MFA in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa. I have been a professional theatre artist since 2013, and I have over 12 years of experience as a Teaching Artist within the Theater modality.

My constant goal in my work is to co-inhabit and co-create safe and brave spaces where we can be ourselves.

This goal is a container for social justice and being an active collaborator in the arts with BIPOC, AAPI, LGBQTIA+, women, non-binary, and Disabled folks. To me there is no equality in the arts without inclusivity and visibility of those who are marginalized. Representation is vital, and I enjoy supporting new work as a collaborator, and as a fan.

As an actor I am proud to have been part of a devised work, We Might Fall Apart which was written/led by BIPOC during the University of Iowa’s Summer Partnership in the Arts 2015, and directed by Vanessa Stalling. I am also thankful to have been an actor for the Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop for all three years I was there; working weekly on readings, workshops, or full productions.

While working regionally in both Atlanta and Chicago I sought out opportunities to support the ongoing creation of new work through acting in Independent Films like Itchy Fingers by Marco Jake and Anna Nilles, or work-shopping new plays like Bandera, Texas by Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend for the Wayward Sisters Theatre Ensemble, and the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago. In Atlanta I worked with Working Title Playwrights on developing new plays as a reader in their weekly readings, and as an actor in their staged reading performances. I also performed at the Aurora Theatre in the workshop of Milo at the Movies a new musical by Mark Gaylord and Tom Diggs.

This passion for accessibility and inclusivity spills over into investing in artistic programming for children. I love advocating for imagination and literacy through live storytelling.

As a company member for Greatworks Theatre Company in the 2021/22 Season I was in both The BFG and Fractured Fairytales which we tour throughout Chicago, and the Midwest to schools.

I also invest in the arts as a Teaching Artist because I love giving back and spending time encouraging the younger generations. I work for Chicago Children’s Theatre teaching resilience and coping strategies with their ROAR residencies in CPS. I teach classes to 12-36 month olds movement and music, and teach acting to Pre-K through 2nd grade. In Summer 2022 I will be part of the Teaching Artists for their Red Kite Camp: a camp that is geared towards Autistic actors and those on the spectrum.

With The Viola Project here in Chicago I teach Shakespeare to young femmes and non-gender conforming people where I love to highlight empowerment, friendship, being true to you, and fighting for what you want.

I believe that storytelling can help us re-connect with our emotions, our bodies, and our sense of wonder. I believe it can be healing, affirming, and can create a sense of belonging in this harsh and often brutal world.

Projects

Fractured Fairytales

Actor in this all-femme cast of classic stories through a contemporary wringer. Greatworks Theatre Company.

Love, John (short)

Written and Directed by Dena Altamore and Shelly Dorani for the 48 HFP Chicago, 2021.

The BFG

Puppeteer and actor in this Greatworks Theatre Company adaptation for the ’21-’22 Tour.

Red Kite Camp 2022

Chicago Children’s Theatre: Designed for youth on the autism spectrum, Camp Red Kite is a dynamic theatre day camp that is welcoming, engaging, and a whole lot of fun! Throughout three fun-filled weeks, students ages 8-22 rotate between classes with their age-appropriate small group, exploring drama, music, movement, and visual arts.

Experiences

Teaching Artist at Chicago Children’s Theatre

2022

Chicago Children’s Theatre inspires children and families to lead lives of adventure, courage, and curiosity.

Volunteer Facilitator with A.B.L.E Ensemble

2022 Season

A.B.L.E. (Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations) is a Chicago nonprofit that creates theatre and film projects for, with, and by individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Teaching Artist with The Viola Project

2022

Using the works of William Shakespeare, The Viola Project unites and empowers girls and gender nonconforming youth from diverse backgrounds so they may grow up to be whoever they want to be. TVP is a program of City Lit Theater.

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Let’s make something together.

Headshot by Tyler Core.